I came up with this title and decided it sounded too darn good to have really come from my head, so I did a quick Google search. I was not surprised when I saw a million entries. Apparently there are books and documentaries on the subject. I have not seen nor read any of them. Perhaps I will, but in the mean time, I am going to go ahead and just write this and see what happens.
I am a type 2 diabetic, so sugar and I have a very troubled relationship. Many would tell you that I am in the situation I am in because of genetics. However, I would tell you that I am in the situation I am in because of my flagrant abuse of an addictive substance.
I am having a hard time with this part, but, since this is quickly becoming a place for support and encouragement for some people, I feel it necessary to be absolutely transparent.
I know, that was a random statement, and here is why; I know first hand what abuse and addiction looks like. I know the bio-markers and the psychological signals. I know the struggle to break it. I wont go into detail, but you can probably assume what I am getting at. Maybe someday I will, but it really serves no purpose in this post other than for me to tell you that sugar is no different than breaking the addiction to an opiate…
I have said this to people face to face on more than one occasion and almost ALWAYS meet resistance and even hostility about the comparison. However, since I am speaking from my experience, I say confidently that the comparison is not an overstatement or a scare tactic. In fact, research is beginning to support my “wild claim” as some would call it.
Have you ever seen the show, “Lost?” You know, the one where they crash on an island and no one comes to rescue them? Well, there is this guy on there named Hurley. Actually, it was Hugo, but, they called him Hurley. Anyway, he was a bigger guy and as you can imagine, he was hungry and his self image was always sort of a theme. Well, without going into detail, there was a food drop on the island. It was not for them, but, that is not important. What is important is that as Hugo was walking through the jungle, he comes across a box of fish crackers. You know, cheese fish crackers, not actual fish. That would be gross. Well, he gives into his struggle and tears the box open and shoves them in his mouth with abandon. His whole body starts to quiver with joy and relief…. Most people see that as a funny moment where a fat guy gets a snack… I see it as the general condition of this current generation. The addiction is that real and that compelling. So compelling and brutal that this guy hid food from the rest of the stranded survivors of the plane crash.
This whole situation was not based on science. It was based on social observation by the writers of the show. They just did not realize how very realistic their portrayal was. This is how real it is… But they were crackers, not sugar, right? Wrong. Your body knows it can turn that into sugar. That’s why the reaction is no different if it is bread, crackers or pure sugar. The trigger comes from a molecular and cellular level. That is why it is so important to not just glance over the details of what you are eating, but to truly understand what you are eating. If you master the food, it can no longer master you.
Sugar was once used as currency. It was cherished. It was of great value. It was rationed. Now, it is common place and the average American consumes upwards of 150 pounds per year or more. POUNDS… The body only has about a teaspoon of sugar in the blood at any given time… So what happens to the rest? It gets stored in the safest place it can find. Fat tissue which is filled with water.
But, eventually that system gets overwhelmed. What happens then? Remember all the films and PSAs about fat clogging arteries and plaque in our veins and all those horrible images? Well, it wasn’t coming from fat. Sugar is sticky and it sticks to stuff. That is about as simple as I can put it. It sticks to the outside of blood cells and other cells and nothing can pass through the walls. The cells die and cant be expelled… Plaque. When it is on the blood they call it glycosylated hemoglobin. Sugar coated blood, and it is the marker for diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
This happens with neural tissue. You don’t ever grow that back. Eventually, it has no way to make the needed energy. What happens when you don’t use a muscle? It atrophies. It shrinks and gets weak. The brain is no different.
So, how much is too much? You wont like this… 25g is toxic. 5 Teaspoons. Approximately one third of a can of soda. Now, we all know soda is demonized… Soda gets beat up by guys like me. So, how about this… 1 slice of white bread. It may not have that much sugar on the label, but it converts to more glucose than the 25g.
This is where most people feel this whole lifestyle is unrealistic. They actually believe that life without bread and grains is impossible. I’m hear to tell you that it isn’t. There are ways around this, but it is best just to let it go if longevity is something you want to consider.
Many of you are wrestling with this and thinking the body needs glucose to survive. It actually doesn’t. It makes it on its one when it actually does need it. Those thoughts are part of the addiction process working its magic on your decision making and belief systems. It is real and I want to recognize that. You want to argue with me because I am attacking your belief system that has been manipulated by chemicals.
More transparency. I love bread. Every time I smell it, my mouth waters. That’s how I know how serious it is. Over time, those seemingly primal urges subside, but it takes a long time. Just hang tight and work through it.
This is quite honestly a topic I can speak on for hours, but, I want to give you enough to digest here. The overall big picture is that sugar was never intended to be consumed like it is today. 25g is not very much. But, think of all the other toxic substances that can kill us with just a microgram.
I will write more on this in the coming weeks, but, in the meantime, start somewhere. Reduce it a little and before you know it, you will break the addiction and be on your way to better health. Until then, take care and keto on!